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MOREHEAD, Ky. (AP) — Clerk Kim Davis returned to work Monday for the first time since being jailed for disobeying a federal judge and said she was faced with a “seemingly impossible choice” between following her conscience and losing her freedom over denying marriage licenses to gay couples.

With her voice shaking, she said she decided not to interfere with deputy clerks who will continue to hand out the marriage licenses in Rowan County, but Davis declared they would not be authorized by her and she questioned their validity.

In her first day back after a five-day stint in jail, Davis said she was torn between obeying God and a directive from the judge that “forces me to disobey God.” Davis, an Apostolic Christian, believes gay marriage is a sin.

“I’m here before you this morning with a seemingly impossible choice that I do not wish upon any of my fellow Americans: my conscience or my freedom,” Davis said, reading from a hand-written statement outside the courthouse where she works.

Davis became a hero to many conservative Christians when she stopped issuing the licenses after the Supreme Court effectively legalized same-sex marriage. Her profile reached a fever pitch when she was jailed, as protesters, presidential candidates and news crews from across the county descended on the small town of Morehead.

On Monday, the plaza outside the courthouse took on a carnival air: loud speakers blasted Christian music, television cameras and lights were set up in white-topped tents and Davis’ supporters waved signs and prayed.

The issue has drawn some of the most fervent Christian activists from across the country. Their trucks are parked up and down the street, bearing signs that read “sodomy ruins nations” and “repent.”

One truck, with a North Carolina license plate, has a poster-sized photo of an aborted fetus on the side. Others, from Iowa and Colorado, feature photos of two men kissing with doomsday warnings about the sin of homosexuality.

Police had a heavy presence outside the courthouse as about 100 reporters formed a tight semi-circle around the courthouse door and waited for Davis. She emerged just minutes before her office officially opened and gave her statement, saying the licenses would now say they were issued “pursuant to federal court order.”

“I don’t want to have this conflict. I don’t want to be in the spotlight. And I certainly don’t want to be a whipping post,” Davis said. “I am no hero. I’m just a person that’s been transformed by the grace of God, who wants to work, be with my family. I just want to serve my neighbors quietly without violating my conscience.”

U.S. District Judge David Bunning held her in contempt and ordered her to jail Sept. 3 when she continued to refuse to issue the licenses. In her absence, her deputies issued at least seven licenses to gay couples and altered the forms to exclude Davis’ name.

The governor, the attorney general and the county attorney have said the licenses are valid. Davis and her attorneys claim otherwise.

The deputy clerk who handed them out, Brian Mason, said Monday that will continue to hand out the licenses despite his boss’s objections.

Mason now sits behind a sign that reads “marriage license deputy.” He remained calm, scrolling on his computer and chewing gum, despite the surreal scene unfolding before him. Dozens of television cameras crowded around his counter, with some reporters climbing step ladders to get a better shot of him sitting at his desk.

Late Monday morning, a lesbian couple approached Mason, escorted by supporters as they squeezed through the mass of reporters.

Davis’ supporters heckled.

Elizabeth Johnson from Ohio screamed: “Come on clerks, don’t sign that license. Don’t let Kim’s five days in jail be in vain.”

Marriage equality supporters chanted, “Love has won.”

Mason, 38, has worked for Davis for a year and a half. His background is in retail, he said.

“It’s a little crazy,” he said of the several dozen video cameras trained on him. “But I try not to let it bother me.”

Davis went into her office after making her statement and remained there with the door closed and the blinds draw, despite the crush of media waiting at the counter.

“I love my deputy clerks and I hate that they have been caught in the middle of any of this,” Davis said in her statement. “If any of them feel that they must issue an authorized license to avoid being thrown in jail, I understand their tough choice and I will take no action against them.”

Matt Sparks, sheriff of this rural county, has found himself in the unexpected position of coordinating reporters from around the globe as they wait for a couple to arrive and try to get a license.

He asked the reporters to step back from the counter so a few customers could do business, like a man looking bewildered as he arrived to renew his car tag.

“I know what shot you’re looking for,” the sheriff told the crowd of media. “If a couple comes in you can step back up.”

 

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By:Morris Dees

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of legendary civil rights activist Julian Bond, SPLC’s first president. He was 75 years old and died last evening, August 15, in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.

From his days as the co-founder and communications director of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in the 1960s to his chairmanship of the NAACP in the 21st century, Julian was a visionary and tireless champion for civil and human rights. He served as the SPLC’s president from our founding in 1971 to 1979, and later as a member of its board of directors.

With Julian’s passing, the country has lost one of its most passionate and eloquent voices for the cause of justice. He advocated not just for African Americans, but for every group, indeed every person subject to oppression and discrimination, because he recognized the common humanity in us all.

Julian is survived by his wife, Pamela Horowitz, a former SPLC staff attorney, and his five children.

Not only has the country lost a hero today, we’ve lost a great friend.

 

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Though Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has already signed a bill that calls for $250 million of taxpayer money to go towards a new arena for the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, the reality of the matter is that the team itself should be paying for that kind of luxury.

As was reported by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the bill calls for taxpayers to cover exactly half the cost of a $500 million arena over the next twenty years and in exchange, the Bucks will not move to Las Vegas, Seattle or any other city in the market for a professional basketball franchise. Noble as the cause may be, particularly since the Bucks have been in Milwaukee since 1968, this deal stinks to high heaven.

First off, more important necessities are being sacrificed for this arena. According to Jordan Weissmann of Slate, citing Valerie Strauss of The Washington Post, Walker cut $250 million from the state’s education budget in order to put up the City of Milwaukee’s half of the funds for the proposed new arena, with the other half coming from current and past team owners. The $250 million that taxpayers contribute will also go up to $400 million with interest and given how Wisconsin already has a $2.2 billion budget deficit, cutting funding for education and asking the public to finance a new arena is along the same lines of quitting one’s job, then asking friends and family to help pay for a new big-screen TV. It’s a nice thing to have, but a luxury that one can ill afford given certain circumstances.

Next, the Bucks’ current arena, the BMO Harris Bradley Center, is a perfectly good venue. It seats 18,717 for basketball games, just 280 seats less than a Los Angeles Lakers capacity crowd at the Staples Center, and doesn’t have any glaring issues other than the fact that it turns 27 years old in October and is the third-oldest active NBA arena, trailing only Oakland’s Oracle Arena and Detroit’s Palace of Auburn Hills, plus the fact that it doesn’t have the flashy perks of “modern” arenas. Granted, the Golden State Warriors are expected to move out of Oracle and into a new arena in San Francisco by 2018, but the team also just won an NBA championship and is privately funding the entire project. In Detroit’s case, while the Pistons have discussed moving downtown and sharing an arena with the Detroit Red wings starting in 2017, nothing is definite yet.

Adding onto that, it should be noted that though the Bucks have an excellent young core in Michael Carter-Williams, Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker and recent free-agent signee Greg Monroe, not to mention first-round draft pick Rashad Vaughn, the plan for the new arena seems to be banking on the hope that each of these players will remain with the team for the long-term, and that’s a big gamble. Monroe only signed a three-year contract, which is really a two-year deal since the third season is a player option, and Antetokounmpo, Parker and Carter-Williams are all still playing on their rookie contracts. The only lock to be on the team for the long-term is Middleton, who inked a five-year, $70 million deal this summer as a restricted free agent. Sure, Bucks ownership would love for ground to be broken this fall and for the arena to be completed by 2017 and though that certainly is a doable timeline, it is still a tight one and all sorts of delays in construction could happen. For all we know, by the time the arena is finally done, these players could all have left for different teams and the venue would suddenly be without its main selling point. That would bring a situation reminiscent to that of Marlins Park, and that would bring nothing but negative publicity.

Which brings up the next point, and probably the most important one. Despite having been in Milwaukee for almost fifty years, the Bucks do not have nearly the same statewide following nor the same level of brand recognition as the NFL’s Green Bay Packers. Given how that team plays in a city with nearly 500,000 less people than Milwaukee and somehow has a larger fan base, not to mention plays in a 57-year-old stadium and has won a championship in the past decade, giving the Bucks a new arena makes little sense since the last time the team got past the first round of the NBA playoffs was in 2001, when then-coach George Karl took them to the Eastern Conference Finals.

That all being said, with a large state budget deficit and little reason to justify spending the money on a new arena beyond ownership saying “Give us a new one or we’re taking our ball and going to either Seattle or Las Vegas,” the Milwaukee Bucks new arena project is a bad investment waiting to happen. The Brooklyn Nets are learning that lesson the hard way after moving from New Jersey to the Barclays Center in hopes of establishing themselves as the new team to beat in New York, but are now in a rebuilding phase just three years after moving into their $1 billion home, having finished in the lower tier of attendance numbers each season there. It’s gotten so bad that team owner Mikhail Prokhorov has tried to sell the team, only to put that on the back burner after potential buyers have balked at his asking price.

Even if their new arena is completed quickly, the cost at which it is being built just makes it look like the Milwaukee Bucks are headed down a similar road, at whose end is a potential situation where nobody wins.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/joshbenjamin/2015/08/12/milwaukee-bucks-new-arena-is-a-multimillion-dollar-mistake/

 

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At least 23 people were arrested in Ferguson, Mo. Monday night as protesters confronted police on a fourth consecutive night of demonstrations to mark the one-year anniversary of the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

St. Louis County Police spokesman Officer Shawn McGuire said early Tuesday that police were still confirming official totals.

Despite the arrests, there were no reports of injuries or violence. McGuire also said that there were no shots fired and no burglaries, looting or property damage during the protest.

Sunday night’s demonstration was thrown into chaos after by gunfire and a police shooting that left an 18-year-old critically injured. Earlier Monday, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger declared a state of emergency, which authorized county Police Chief Jon Belmar to take control of police emergency management in and around Ferguson.

By early Monday evening, hundreds of people had gathered. They marched up and down West Florissant Avenue, the thoroughfare that was the site of protests and rioting after Brown was fatally shot last year in a confrontation with a Ferguson police officer.

The protesters chanted, beat drums and carried signs. When some in the group moved into a traffic lane, officers in riot gear forced people out of the street. Some demonstrators threw water bottles and other debris at officers.

 

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WGLB AM 1560 and WGLB Records will be holding their annual customer appreciation day August 1st 11am-3pm. We will giving away a limited number of school backpacks. First come first serve. Your child or teen must be present to pick up. See you Saturday.

Backpack

 

 

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(Shareif Ziyadat/FilmMagic)

Bobbi Kristina Brown’s death will be evaluated with an autopsy, authorities confirmed Monday. “Interpretation of autopsy findings and other information will also be challenging,” the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office said in a statement given to the Associated Press the morning following her death. “However, an autopsy could be helpful to address questions which may arise about the cause of her unresponsiveness and eventual death.”

Brown, 22, died Sunday at the Peachtree Christian Hospice in Duluth, Georgia, six months after she was found unresponsive at her home near Atlanta. Brown, the daughter of Whitney Houston and Bobbi Brown, had been in hospital and hospice care since then. According to the examiner’s office, the time between the incident and her death may “complicate” the autopsy report.

“Bobbi Kristina Brown passed away July 26 2015, surrounded by her family,” Houston family representative Kristen Foster said on Sunday. “She is finally at peace in the arms of God. We want to again thank everyone for their tremendous amount of love and support during these last few months.”

 

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LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — The movie theater gunman who stood up about 20 minutes into the showing of “Trainwreck” and began firing into the crowd, killing two people, was described as a drifter from Alabama whose escape plan was thwarted by police officers who arrived almost immediately, authorities said Friday. The gunman killed himself.

Nine people were wounded in the attack Thursday night. The gunman, identified as 59-year-old John Russel Houser, fired at least 13 times from a handgun, police said. He had parked his car by the theater’s exit door and initially tried to escape by blending into the fleeing crowd, but turned back when he saw police heading inside from the parking lot, authorities said. Officers tailing him back into the theater then heard a single gunshot and found him dead inside, police said.

“It is apparent that he was intent on shooting and then escaping,” Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft said.

Authorities did not release a motive. They said Houser had been in the Lafayette area since early July, staying at a motel where they found disguises, including glasses and wigs. His 1995 blue Lincoln Continental had a license plate on it that didn’t match the car.

Police said the gunman was by himself and started the rampage by shooting the two people sitting in front of him. The victims were identified as 33-year-old Jillian Johnson and 21-year-old Mayci Breaux.

At least one theatergoer described the attack, saying an older man stood up about 20 minutes into the 7:10 p.m. showing of “Trainwreck” at the Grand 16 theater in Lafayette and began shooting.

“We heard a loud pop we thought was a firecracker,” Katie Domingue told The Advertiser.

“He wasn’t saying anything. I didn’t hear anybody screaming either,” said Domingue, who added that she heard about six shots before she and her fiance ran to the nearest exit, leaving behind her shoes and purse.

Stories of heroism emerged with presidential hopeful Gov. Bobby Jindal, who traveled to the scene within hours of the shooting, telling reporters that a teacher who was in the theater jumped in front of a second teacher, taking a bullet for her. The second teacher then managed to pull a fire alarm to alert other moviegoers, he said.

“Her friend literally jumped over her and, by her account, actually saved her life,” Jindal said.

President Barack Obama was briefed on the shooting aboard Air Force One by Lisa Monaco, his homeland security adviser, while on his way to Africa for a two-nation visit, the White House said.

Obama asked his team to keep him updated on the investigation and the status of those wounded. He also offered his thoughts and prayers to the community and to the families of those killed.

The shooting took place a week after the man who shot and killed 12 people at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., was convicted and on the very day a jury said it was cruel enough to justify the death penalty. But jurors must first hear the defense’s arguments for a life term before deciding whether he’ll be sentenced to death.

Nine people ranging in age from their late teens to their late 60s were wounded, Craft said. At least one of those was in critical condition. Two were released from the hospital. The condition of the others was not immediately known.

Houser had been arrested and ticketed for several offenses in the past, ranging from arson to selling alcohol to a minor to speeding, authorities said. In Alabama, records show Houser had four speeding tickets and one no-seatbelt ticket between 1981 and 2003. It’s not clear when and where the arson allegedly occurred.

Alabama court records show Houser filed a small claims court lawsuit in 2004 claiming he was injured when he donated plasma at a Phenix City donation center. He asked for $1,800 to pay his emergency room bill and for a narcotics prescription. The case was settled, according to court records.

He had been married once but did not currently have a wife. Police said they had talked to his family in Alabama but he appeared “seemingly estranged” from them.

“It just seems like he was kind of drifting along,” Craft said. He had an uncle that once lived in Lafayette, but he died 35 years ago. “We don’t know why he decided to stop and stay in Lafayette.”

State police superintendent Col. Michael D. Edmonson said there were about 100 people inside the theater at the time of the shooting. Keys, shoes and purses were all left behind.

One of them was 21-year-old Emily Mann. Her father said she was sitting with a friend in the same row as the shooter.

“They heard a couple of pops and didn’t know what it was,” Randall Mann said. “And then they saw the muzzle flashes, and that’s when they knew what was going on. She hit the floor immediately.”

Randall Mann said his daughter Emily and her friend escaped uninjured.

“She’s traumatized,” he said.

Early Friday, about a dozen law enforcement personnel were gathered at a Motel 6 in Lafayette, where Houser had been staying. A bomb squad swept the room before going in as a precaution.

Edmonson added that police believe the gunman fired shots only at the theater and had not waged an attack anywhere else beforehand

He said police saw something suspicious inside the shooter’s car and that a bomb-sniffing dog “hit on three different locations” in the vehicle, “so out of an abundance of caution we brought in the bomb squad.”

No explosives were found in the car or in the theater complex.

“Trainwreck” star Amy Schumer tweeted: “My heart is broken and all my thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Louisiana.” The comedy stars Schumer as a magazine writer who decides to live a life of promiscuity after her father convinces her that monogamy isn’t realistic, but in spite of her best efforts, finds herself falling in love with one of her interview subjects.

Gov. Jindal called the shooting “an awful night for Louisiana.”

“What we can do now is we can pray,” Jindal said. “We can hug these families. We can shower them with love, thoughts and prayers.”

Lafayette is about 60 miles west of the state capital of Baton Rouge. Outside the movie theater complex hours after the shooting, a couple of dozen police cars were still at the scene, which authorities had cordoned off with police tape as onlookers took photos with their cellphones.

A small group of theater employees stood outside the police perimeter. A man who identified himself as a general manager declined to be interviewed: “We would appreciate it if you could give us some space,” he said.

Landry Gbery (pronounced Berry), 26, of Lafayette, was watching a different movie, “Self/less” at the time of the shooting when the lights came up and a voice over the intercom told everyone there was an emergency and they needed to leave.

Gbery said he never heard gunshots, and assumed the emergency was a fire until he got outside and saw a woman lying on the ground.

“I was really anxious for everybody at that point,” Gbery said. “Fortunately I was lucky. I took the right exit.”

The Louisiana shooting occurred three years after James Holmes entered a crowded movie theater in suburban Denver and opened fire during the premier of a Batman film, killing 12 people and wounding 70 others.

A jury last week quickly convicted Holmes on 165 counts of murder, attempted murder and other charges, rejecting defense arguments that he was insane and suffering delusions that drove him to the July 20, 2012, attack.

___

Associated Press writers Melinda Deslatte in Lafayette, Louisiana, and Kevin McGill in New Orleans contributed to this report.

 

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Bill Cosby lost his latest bid to fend off a lawsuit accusing him of sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles in 1974, as the California Supreme Court on Wednesday denied the comedian’s petition to review the case.

The accuser’s attorney, Gloria Allred, said the decision cleared the way for the litigation brought by Judy Huth, now in her 50s, to proceed, and that she intended to take Cosby’s sworn deposition within the next 30 days.

“We are looking forward to Mr. Cosby answering questions under oath at his deposition,” Allred said. “It’s a very big victory.”

There was no immediate response from Cosby or his lawyers, who have consistently denied allegations of sexual misconduct lodged against the 78-year-old performer.

Huth is one of more than 40 women who have come forward in the past year to say that they were raped or molested by Cosby after he plied them with drugs in incidents dating back decades.

The complaint filed by Huth against Cosby is one of at least four pending civil lawsuits stemming from such accusations, but Allred said Huth’s is the only one seeking damages for the alleged sexual misconduct itself.

The others are defamation suits whose principal causes of action allege the entertainer falsely branded his accusers as liars by denying that he ever sexually assaulted them. (Reporting by Steve Gorman; Editing by Eric Beech)

 

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Yahoo News

Rachel Dolezal, the former NAACP leader who resigned as president of the organization’s Spokane, Wash., chapter after being accused of lying about her race, says she identifies as an African-American.

“I identify as black,” Dolezal said in an interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer on the “Today” show Tuesday.

The 37-year-old civil rights activist said she has been doing so since the age of 5.

“I was drawing self-portraits with the brown crayon instead of the peach crayon,” Dolezal said.

But Dolezal dismissed the notion that representing herself as an African-American amounts to blackface.

“I certainly don’t stay out of the sun,” she said, “but I don’t put on blackface as a performance.”

Dolezal — who has four adopted black step-siblings, was married to a black man and has two black children — attended the historically black Howard University, graduating in 2002.

In a separate interview with MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, Dolezal was asked, “Are you black?”

“Yes,” Dolezal replied.

Dolezal said being the mother of two black sons has shown her “what it means to experience and live black … blackness.”

“From a very young age,” Dolezal eplained, “I felt a very, I don’t know, spiritual, visceral, just very instinctual connection with ‘black is beautiful’ and, you know, just the black experience and wanting to celebrate that — and I didn’t know how to articulate that as a young child.”

But the Smoking Gun reports that in 2002, the year she graduated, Dolezal filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against Howard University claiming she was denied teaching posts and a scholarship — because she was white. The lawsuit was dismissed in 2004.

Last week, Dolezal’s biological parents, who are white, disclosed that their daughter is white but had been posing as African-American, sparking an ethics investigation at the NAACP and touching off a national debate over racial identity.

On “Today,” Dolezal said she doesn’t understand why her parents “are in a rush to whitewash some of the work that I have done and who I am and how I have identified.”

[Related: Can Rachel Dolezal really be ‘transracial’ — or is white privilege to blame?]

At a rally in Spokane Monday, leaders of local civil rights organizations called for Dolezal’s resignation, holding signs that read “Integrity Matters.”

“I feel duped,” Charity Bagatsing, an organizer of the rally, told the Associated Press.

Dolezal resigned from her NAACP post Monday.

“In the eye of this current storm, I can see that a separation of family and organizational outcomes is in the best interest of the NAACP,” Dolezal wrote in a letter posted to the NAACP Spokane’s Facebook page. “Please know I will never stop fighting for human rights and will do everything in my power to help and assist, whether it means stepping up or stepping down, because this is not about me. It’s about justice.”

More from Dolezal’s letter:

Many issues face us now that drive at the theme of urgency. Police brutality, biased curriculum in schools, economic disenfranchisement, health inequities, and a lack of pro-justice political representation are among the concerns at the forefront of the current administration of the Spokane NAACP. And yet, the dialogue has unexpectedly shifted internationally to my personal identity in the context of defining race and ethnicity.

[…]

This is not me quitting; this is a continuum. It’s about moving the cause of human rights and the Black Liberation Movement along the continuum from Resistance to Chattel Slavery to Abolition to Defiance of Jim Crow to the building of Black Wall Street to the Civil Rights and Black Power Movement to the‪ #BlackLivesMatter movement and into a future of self-determination and empowerment.

 

 

great gospel musicx